Inside Southbank Sinfonia

An orchestra like no other, based in the heart of London

Anghiari Festival 2014: He ain’t heavy, he’s my orchestra

Leave a comment

Imagine a Vespa weaving in and out of traffic. That’s the musical equivalent of a piccolo soloist.

A Fiat 500 might be a violinist, still nimble enough to park in small spaces; a bassoonist a Volvo Estate – surprisingly heavy, and getting trickier to manoeuvre.

Then at the larger end, a double bassist could be a clunky van with a dodgy clutch, and a percussionist with a set-up of timpani or a vibraphone is an articulated lorry.

Now imagine a whole orchestra. In our case, upwards of 32 musicians and their instruments to transport from venue to venue – a logistical supertanker.

Hauling an ocean-going oil tanker up the narrow and steep streets of Anghiari, plus the winding dirt-track hairpins of Tuscany, is certainly a good way to justify an extra pizza or two. With 23 events over the past week, as we move between rehearsal and concert venues several times a day, hundreds of calories are burned loading and unloading the van (we’ve called her Sonia) or pulling Veera the bass case (she’s unable to stay in a straight line) up the cobbled inclines of a hill-town. Led by the industrious Jo and Sam (Orchestra Managers), we’ve become quite adept at hopping between – and, thanks to the rain this week, quite often in and out of  – churches, piazzas, schools and castles on top of mountains.

So, just in case the photos of stunning views and beautiful ancient theatres were giving the impression we’re living the Italian high life, here’s our illustrated top five methods of Tuscan orchestral transport:

5) Bassman’s lift:

Mark shows off his bass carrying solution.

Over the head: Mark shows off his bass carrying solution.

4) Sonia the van:


A midnight get-out from the theatre (L) and Sonia’s minibus sister navigating steep dirt tracks (R)

3) Old fashioned brute force:

Midnight timpani lugging

Who needs a gym when there’s late night timpani shifting between piazzas to be done.

2) The wheelbarrow:


Clunky music stands that are difficult to carry? No problem, our fleet of wheelbarrows are at the ready.

1) The Ape:

1) Jen, our Creative Leadership Manager, goes ape

Jen, our Creative Leadership Manager, goes Ape while helping the locals with outdoor seating.


Author: southbanksinfonia

Every year, Southbank Sinfonia brings together 33 young musicians for an experience that will change their lives. Find out about our upcoming concerts, including our Free Rush Hour Series, at

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s